I may have mentioned in an earlier post that one of the more common objections I get when broaching the subject of content marketing for investment managers is:
We tried that a few years ago, spent all of these resources, and nobody read it.
When I ask, “What did you write about?” they usually say they wrote weekly or monthly investment management market commentaries. To that, I always wanted to ask,
Well, did you try writing something people actually care about?
Look, in the context of your internal investment process and portfolio management activities, your market analysis must play a central role.
But outside of that, your take on the market is part of your firm’s sausage-making process that nobody really cares about on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (unless there’s a major market event or some external risk that may have a significant effect on how you run the portfolio or execute your strategy).
Think about how often you delete stuff like that. I imagine it’s quite often.
The solution is to think a bit more deeply about your firm, what you offer in terms of your value proposition, and how it benefits clients directly.
Investment management market commentaries probably aren't the first things that come to mind.
But you can stop reading now if…
If your weekly investment management market commentaries are indeed central to your firm’s identity and it has an established audience, then don’t stop. One of the most underrated aspects of cultivating an audience is to remain respectful of the trust that’s been given to you.
I will say this, however: if you’re already doing the hard work of researching, drafting, and publishing, take the next step and treat the commentary as a product offering and create a devoted content marketing strategy around the piece:
- articulate how it fits into your firm’s overall marketing or client service goals (i.e.: what are you gaining/hoping to gain by writing them?)
- determine ways others could benefit (i.e.: what about it appeals to your clients, and how can you broaden its appeal to work with prospects as well?)
- Identify and exploit all relevant digital marketing distribution channels
- Carefully measure your results, analyzing where it gets the most traction, as well as what sort of commentaries receive the most interest
Now, for the rest of you…
If you want to do content, but aren’t sure where to start (or you have a failed market commentary strategy in the past), focus your content efforts on those areas were you currently add value to your relationships.
In other words, how do you solve problems, answer questions, address issues, and otherwise bring consequence and meaning to your client relationships?
Market commentaries answer few meaningful questions, address few issues of immediate concern (usually), and solve no problems for the audience. At best, it offers some insight into how your firm sees things, but who really cares day-to-day, week-to-week?
Your audience can get commentary in Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, and other national news outlets, all of which have deeper resources (including research) and are generally more credible. Remember, they have a team of full-time staffers whose job is devoted to market commentaries and research.
Can you realistically compete with that?
(NOTE - I think an interesting way around this would be to write commentaries that take exception with such "conventional wisdom," and thus create an identity of iconoclasism for your firm. But it would have to be authentic, and not just contrarian for its own sake.)
2 more caveats
- If you’re running a hedge fund or similarly strategy, and concerns over the day-to-day, week-to-week market fluctuations are in fact central to your investment strategy then, yes – these are clearly issues that are germane to your audience in that they directly affect how you manage client assets.
- Investment management market commentaries are most appropriate for quarterly summaries and year-end reports. These are big picture pieces of content that would benefit from the context your market commentaries would provide.
clients and prospects solve their problems and issues through a sustained Inbound Marketing campaign.